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Winding River Flooding Snarls Traffic, Puts Utility Pumps at Risk

Winding River Park fields underwater, and roads on both sides of river affected

A has caused portions of major roads to close due to flooding in West Dover, Pleasant Plains and along the border with Manchester today.

In addition, township parks and the Municipal Utility Authority rushed to Winding River Park today as the river flooded ballfields and trails and compromised an MUA generator there, officials said.

Elevated river levels has caused at least two closures along Route 571 today, with county crews unlikely to be able to repair the affected areas until Tuesday at the earliest.

Bridges on two stretches of the county roadway are currently closed to vehicular traffic due to the continued effects of Hurricane Irene, which has compromised the pavement along both spans.

"The water got really high," said J. Thomas Curcio, supervisor of the Ocean County Road Department. "We can't do anything until the water goes down."

Curcio said that while water did not come over the roadway at the spans at Whitesville Road and Oak Ridge Parkway, it rose high enough to "scour up some of the dirt" and subsequently compromise the integrity of both bridges. 

Both spans remain closed.

Once the waters recede, Road Department crews can fill in any patches along the spans and repave the area. Curcio anticipates the bridges will remain closed "for at least a day or so.

"It's not a big deal," he said. "We just have to wait for the water" to recede.

On the Oak Ridge Parkway, a police message board flashed “BRIDGE OUT” messages while traffic cones directed traffic down Cardinal Drive. On the south side of the river, the waters reached Route 37’s Hospital Drive jug handle, closing the emergency access road to the Community Medical Center and to local traffic.

Jean Flaherty, director of Marketing for the hospital, said that Toms River Police were at the intersection directing emergency vehicles trying to make a left turn from Route 37 west onto Hospital Drive.

“There is no impact to hospital access,” she said.

Meanwhile, Toms River Municipal Utility Authority crews dropped hundreds of sandbags around a shed on the Winding River Park property that houses electrical components for a pump system.

Toms River MUA Director Steve Acropolis said that if water damaged the electrical systems, including timers that pump sewage out of one pipe and into the county sewerage treatment pipes, it could amount to $200,000 in damages and a big mess of backed up sewer pipes.

“We dropped about 300 sandbags around the shed. It’s already three feet off the ground but our guys loaded up the sandbags to be sure, and we saved it from the flooding,” said Acropolis.

He said about eight staffers rushed to the scene in hopes of redirecting water away from the shed.

“It’s the worst right now as it’s high tide,” Acropolis said at noon today.

The township park of Winding River was completely flooded at the Route 37 access road for most of today.

Township Administrator Paul Shives said access is severely impeded due to flooding.

“One access road to Winding River Park itself is underwater. Many of the pathways and park trails are inaccessible,” Shives said. “We recommend to people: stay away.”

The ball fields along the Route 37 side are under water, as is the main park road.

Trails and ball fields are closed with security stationed in the area. The skating rink however opened at 4 p.m.

Upstream, the township’s is unaffected, Shives said. “I believe the channel there is deeper. There is no impact.”

He said that he believes the worst is over.

“Nothing would surprise me,” he said however. “But the good news is there’s no more rain forecast. Within the next 24 hours, we’re hopeful most of this will be a memory.”

Tired of the status quo August 29, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Catherine, How can you post that the closure of Oak Ridge Parkway causes no problem. This may be true for the people who only use Oak Ridge Parkway as a cut through to Route 37. But, for the people who live in that neighborhood there is a REAL BIG PROBLEM!!!! Just in case you didn't know the entrance to Oak
Cindy August 29, 2011 at 11:14 PM
Thanks for posting the Oak Ridge information! I've been relaying info to my family in that area. Any word on when power will be restored?
Jazz Hands August 30, 2011 at 02:01 AM
Oakridge Pkwy got power back at 9:15PM Monday. I don't know about the side streets though.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) August 30, 2011 at 05:55 AM
I personally do disagree with the county source's quoted opinion. There it is in the story for you to also form an opinion on. I do hope Oak Ridge is soon back to a semblance of normalcy soon, as it was a mess today for certain. Be safe.
John Pine August 30, 2011 at 06:52 AM
I have some video of the river, it was completely out of control! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SokGhJQ-ZMU
Cindy August 30, 2011 at 09:47 AM
Thanks Jazz Hands. I got your email.
Donna Kiss August 30, 2011 at 08:23 PM
I feel i need to make a plead for the over 60 people living in Ocean Co. As anyone who lives in OC you know we have alot of people over 60 and alot of them are without power now for 4days this is very critical for them as they do use medical equipment they need power for : Breathing equip, elec chairs and beds and so on. I feel the elec companys need to take care of them first...and try to restore power....alot of these people dont have family close by and no help!!
BN August 30, 2011 at 09:38 PM
While I agree the seniors developments need attention, age is not the only criteria that is or should be used in determining what lines get fixed first. There are other factors that need to be considered.
. August 30, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Jughandle at Fischer and Hooper is still closed. Cops directing traffic at the college U turn.

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